Hexanal inhalation affects cognition and anxiety-like behavior in mice

Hiroshi Ueno, Atsumi Shimada, Shunsuke Suemitsu, Shinji Murakami, Naoya Kitamura, Kenta Wani, Yu Takahashi, Yosuke Matsumoto, Motoi Okamoto, Takeshi Ishihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Hexanal is a 6-carbon aldehyde that smells like green leaves and urine to mammals. However, its physiological effects remain unclear. In particular, the effects of hexanal inhalation on the central nervous system have not been clarified. We investigated hexanal inhalation in mice and conducted a series of behavioral experiments to examine the neuropsychological effects of hexanal. After inhaling hexanal emissions for 30 min, mice were subjected to an open field test, a hot plate test, a grip strength test, an elevated plus maze test, a Y-maze test, a tail suspension test, and a forced swim test to examine the effects of hexanal odor on mouse behavior. Compared to controls, mice that inhaled hexanal exhibited reduced anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze test. In addition, mice that inhaled hexanal displayed significantly improved spatial cognitive ability in the Y-maze test. However, in some behavioral experiments there was no significant difference between control mice and mice that inhaled hexanal. The results of this study suggest that hexanal inhalation causes anxiolytic effects and improves cognitive function in mice. These findings may have implications for safety management procedures and determining the effective use of household goods containing hexanal, though further work is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-415
Number of pages7
JournalZeitschrift fur Naturforschung - Section C Journal of Biosciences
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020


  • anxiolytic
  • essential oil
  • hexanal
  • inhalation
  • mouse
  • odor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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